Deadline and Fellowship of the Fans (FOTF) are carrying separate reports that Howard Shore is in the frame to compose soundtrack music for the LOTR on Prime series. FOTF reports the deal is, in fact, already inked and, additionally, that Shore will be joined by American composer Bear McCreary.

For those living under a rock (yours truly, for example), McCreary is best known for his work on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the reboot of Battlestar Galactica, as well as Outlander and The Walking Dead. He also composed the music for the God of War computer game.

The choice of Shore offers more evidence that Amazon Studios is exerting a lot of effort to create a synchronicity between the LOTR on Prime Second Age-focused series and the aesthetics that Peter Jackson established with his own renditions of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Update

In 2019, Shore expressed in an interview with Loot Crate that he’d be open to and interested working in the Middle-earth milieu again.

I spent so many happy years traveling through Tolkien’s world. If I was able to return and explore a bit more in a creative environment, I would be very interested to do so.

Howard Shore, speaking to Loot Crate.

It’s also worth noting that in September 2020 TORn Tuesday revealed a rumour that Shore and Amazon were in discussions. Staffer Justin reported that Shore didn’t “necessarily want to compose the whole series”, but was keen to be involved in the design and development of the themes. This would tend to bear out FOTF’s report of a dual-pronged appointment and the involvement of McCreary. You can watch that TORn Tuesday episode here (Shore discussion starts around 9 mins 50 secs).

The Dragon awakens! After a Covid-enforced hiatus last year, DragonCon is back in Atlanta this weekend – and TORn will be there!

The organisers of DragonCon are doing their best to keep everyone safe, requiring attendees to show proof of vaccination or of a negative Covid test, and to wear masks. Numbers will be scaled back (though given how massive DragonCon’s crowds usually are, the venues may not FEEL uncrowded), and there are no fan tables this year. This means TORn staffers deej and greendragon will not be in their usual spot, selling shirts and other merch. BUT – you can find them around the Con, and you can find merchandise online!

TORn's design, featuring quotations from Tolkien: 'Shadows are fleeing ... and merry our meeting. Be of good hope!' We see an image of a smoking pipe, and TORn's logo below. The bottom of the design features another quotation - 'Hope is Kindled' - and the date, 2021. The design is show on a pale grey t-shirt.

TORn’s ‘Hope is Kindled’ design, which was revealed at the end of 2020, seeking to cheer us all in the days of pandemic, can be found at our online Spring store. We’ve also brought back fan favourites ‘Keep Calm and Read Tolkien’ and ‘Coexist’ – which you can order on shirts, mugs, masks, and even socks! Check out all the goodies in the store here; and thanks for supporting the website!

Regular DragonCon attendees will be glad to know that Friday night’s ‘Evening at Bree’ is happening this year. Live music will be provided by The Brobdingnagian Bards and Beth Patterson, and there will of course be a costume contest – sign up for it at the High Fantasy Track Room. An Evening at Bree will be in the Hilton Grand West ballroom, 8.30pm, Friday night.

Tolkien panels in the High Fantasy Track include (of course!) TORn’s panel about Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series. What do we know? What spy reports can we share? Friday 2.30pm is the time to discover those secrets, in the High Fantasy Track Room (Marriott L401-403); when staffers deej, greendragon and Madeye Gamgee will share all they know – and speculate about stuff they don’t know…

On Saturday at 5pm there will be a streamed, pre-recorded panel featuring the above staffers, and a rare sighting for TORn founder Calisuri; this panel is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of Peter Jackson’s Fellowship of the Ring. Calisuri spills the beans about a very special invitation he received, to see some amazing footage in Cannes…

At other times during the Con, you can find entertainment such as Madeye Gamgee discussing the Second Age, greendragon talking Arthurian Adaptations, and deej considering Tolkien’s influence on Stephen King’s The Stand. Find full details in the High Fantasy Track’s schedule for the weekend!

We’re excited to see folks at the Con, and to share some Middle-earth fun with you all. We’ll miss those of you who can’t attend; we’ll raise a drink to absent friends! Cheers, Gaffer!

Numenor is a central location in Amazon’s billion dollar Lord of the Rings series, and now we have the first description of the peoples of the island, thanks to the intrepid Fellowship of Fans.

Guilds as Tolkien wrote

According to leaked set reports, Numenorians have trade guilds and wear patches marking their trade allegiance according the extras on the set. This is actually true to the books and maintains #FidelityToTolkien.

This seems to confirm that Amazon has licensed stories from UNFINISHED TALES by J.R.R. Tolkien, a book posthumously edited & published by Christopher Tolkien. If we look at page 170:

Among the wrights of the Edain were weaponsmiths, and they had with the teaching of the Noldor acquired great skill in the forging of swords, of axe-blades, and of spearheads and knives. Swords the Guild of Weaponsmiths still made, for the preservation of the craft, though most of their labour was spent on the fashioning of tools for the uses of peace.

Unfinished Tales
Elves forging

Numenor is like Themyscira?

Further in Unfinished Tales it describes a horse & bow culture similar to what movie audiences have recently seen in Wonder Woman. With lead WW stuntwoman Dayna Grant recently in the news, it’s not too much of a stretch to consider her skillset is perfect for how Tolkien describes Numenorians:

The King and most of the great chieftains possessed swords as heirlooms of their fathers; and at times they would still give a sword as a gift to their heirs. A new sword was made for the King’s Heir to be given to him on the day on which this title was conferred. But no man wore a sword in Numenor, and for long years few indeed were the weapons of warlike intent that were made in the land. Axes and spears and bows they had, and shooting with bows on foot and on horseback was a chief sport and pastime of the Numenoreans.

Unfinished Tales
Stuntwoman Dayna Grant, as she appeared in Wonder Woman - mounted on dark brown horse, wearing a golden catsuit and with a golden bow in her left hand.
Dayna Grant in Wonder Woman

Amazon Studios’ “The Lord of the Rings” Second Age series has been notoriously secretive during the 18-month production, but inside info is finally trickling out of the billion dollar series thanks to anonymous Spy Reports coming out of New Zealand. We have been able to verify most of today’s report as currently accurate per sources that are involved with the Production.

Most of these Spy Reports have come to us in short form bullet points, and are shared as such below [with additional context and editorial in brackets from Staff Writer and weekly host Clifford Broadway]. Our spy hotline is still the same after 21 years and our DM’s are open on twitter & instagram! To celebrate the hard-working artists and craftspeople working with such passion way down in New Zealand we shed light on their efforts and help include them in the embrace of fan enthusiasm. As with previous intrepid filmmakers tackling a version of Tolkien; the fandom fully indulges our unbridled curiosity with an open hand while shouting support from afar—a grand tradition of an engaged fandom.

Lore, Legal Rights & the Tolkien Estate

First off, we are hearing that the Tolkien Estate is very happy with how things are progressing. Seems they really are more involved in this Production than with any previous LOTR adaptation ever [including the Bakshi version in 1978 and the six Middle-earth films from Peter Jackson; per the terms of the newest deal] and are thus enjoying the creative process. The overall plan for the show has instilled confidence in the Production and more story rights have been assigned to the show.

  • *CONFIRMED* for the 1st time EVER: elements & passages from “The Silmarillion” and “Unfinished Tales” are licensed by Amazon Studios for this adaptation [we broadly speculate those are sections of the book relative to Númenor and Rings of Power including full rights to stories licensed in the Appendices of “The Lord of the Rings,” which already mention Númenor and much more. Actors had posted instagram pics from Silm over the last 18 months.]
  • Amazon DOES have merchandising rights
  • Three lore experts / Tolkien scholars were on set for a time during production
  • Tolkien Estate is said to be very happy with how things are progressing

Production Details

  • Men, Elves and Dwarves have their own sequestered production units for the different Free Peoples [this intriguing bit rather suggests the narrative might be constructed across wide time jumps or told from pockets of different historical viewpoints, perhaps even an anthology approach rotating characters from the various Free Peoples all reacting to the same thing, or just not cooperating with each other in Season 1: but over what timelines we still do not know].
  • Scripts are only digitally shared among actors and crew under draconian control mechanisms to track any persons who could access them
  • There is a fake production team shooting decoy footage on fake sets unrelated to the real Production – [thus making some “reports of location sightings” false leads by tricksy hobbitses and we must admit this is very clever indeed! Peter Jackson never used decoys!]
  • Main unit wrapped shooting in April 2021; while many actors are back in the U.K. or are now on other productions
  • J.A. Bayona’s episodes are a standalone entry point to the series [like a feature film]
  • There are more incredible directors and big stars yet to be announced
  • LOTR & Wheel of Time are sharing crew & directors
  • They are aiming for a mid-2022 release [that is only one short year away and must mean the pressure on Post Production must be remarkable]

Men, Elves, Dwarves & “Early Halflings”

Welcome to the Second Age of the Middle-earth Cinematic Universe, full of corruption, wandering, and a lack of alliances.

  • Some Halflings are dark skin precursors to Shire-hobbits quite possibly “one of three somewhat different breeds” maybe Harfoots; [described by Tolkien in the Prologue to LOTR ‘Concerning Hobbits’ pg. 12: “they were browner of skin,” and also “they moved westward early,” alluding to a time in their Wandering Days, or perhaps earlier when they kept no records of their journeys over the Misty Mountains westward (which may explain a little of why any early antecedents of pre-Shire migration hobbits would appear here in the Second Age instead of Third Age narrative)]
  • Sir Lenny Henry portrays one such early halfling [Harfoot]
  • Celebrimbor the ringmaker has been recast
  • Tom Budge was in that role
  • Certain creatures are referred to as Ice Trolls because they can’t be called Cave Trolls (Warner Bros. licensing restriction)
  • Nudity is sparse and not sexualized— contrary to earlier concerns: but rather this artistic choice represents very dark thematic material suggestive of concentration camp-type visuals of victims, a harrowing portrayal of the corruption of the Elves by dark powers to ultimately become Orcs
    Editors note: if this plays out fully it will may well be one of the most ambitious things undertaken by this production and perhaps by anyone attempting to adapt Tolkien
  • Elves will have short/ shorter hairstyles [cue the Twitter threads, both pro and con, and the voting polls, and endless constellations of lovely fan art, so please bring it fans; I’m here for it]
  • Sauron/Annatar will not be revealed in Season One [going with the oldest axiom of show business “Always leave them wanting more.”]
Tom Budge was Celebrimbor the ringmaker, now being recast and reshot

Tune into #TORnTuesday as Quickbeam breaks down all these juicy spy reports in detail. Subscribe on YouTube! We still have a long way to go until Amazon’s LOTR TV show releases, so if you hear anything drop a note to spymaster@theonering.net

Earlier this week, TheOneRing.net EXCLUSIVELY brought you the official show synopsis for Amazon’s Lord of the Rings series TV show. In case you missed it, here it is:

Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

Staffers from TORn have been poring over this, wondering what every tiny scrap of information could mean; and we’ve been gathering their reactions, to share with you.

Continue reading “Our staff react to Amazon’s LORD OF THE RINGS Series Official Synopsis”

Fans have waited patiently for 3 years, since Amazon announced they acquired the TV rights to LORD OF THE RINGS, to get an idea of what a new Middle-earth show will be about. We finally have the answer, thanks to an incredible spy report. TheOneRing.net has verified the authenticity & accuracy of this show description.

Here is the official show synopsis for Amazon’s billion-dollar LOTR series:

Amazon Studios’ forthcoming series brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. This epic drama is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and will take viewers back to an era in which great powers were forged, kingdoms rose to glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to cover all the world in darkness. Beginning in a time of relative peace, the series follows an ensemble cast of characters, both familiar and new, as they confront the long-feared re-emergence of evil to Middle-earth. From the darkest depths of the Misty Mountains, to the majestic forests of the elf-capital of Lindon, to the breathtaking island kingdom of Númenor, to the furthest reaches of the map, these kingdoms and characters will carve out legacies that live on long after they are gone.

Rumors have flown ever since Amazon & the Tolkien Estate announced the new visual collaboration. Early reports were that the story of young Aragorn would be explored – a strategy that shifted after the showrunners and writing team were assembled. In a surprising turn, Amazon released a teaser map and crew video announcing the Second Age of Middle-earth, 1000s of years before the events of The Hobbit and LOTR. Numenor, heretofore unmentioned in film adaptations, would clearly be a central location for the series.

Amazon’s LOTR is currently planned as a minimum 5-season series, with 8 to 10 episodes per season. Filming begins this month on back-to-back Seasons 1&2 in New Zealand. While the showrunners are new to Hollywood with nothing on their production resumes, the fabulous J.A. Bayona was hired to direct the 2-part pilot and set the tone for the entire series to come. The pilot has completed filming and is currently in post production.

See the reaction of fans & staff of TheOneRing.net community as they hear the official synopsis of the LOTR show on TORn Tuesday! Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook